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Ontario Parks

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Ontario Parks FAQs

  • Question: Where can I find information on beach closings, boil water advisories, and fire bans?
  • Answer: Beach advisories, boil water advisories and fire ban alerts can be found at www.ontarioparks.com/alerts

  • Question: How old do you have to be to reserve and occupy a campsite without an adult?
  • Answer: You must be at least 16 years of age to reserve and occupy a campsite without adult supervision, provided that all occupants are 16 years of age or older. If a member of your camping party is under the age of 16, you must have at least one person 18 years of age or older occupying the site

  • Question: Is alcohol permitted within Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Alcohol is permitted within provincial parks except during scheduled alcohol bans. Alcohol must remain on your designated campsite at all times. For the dates of alcohol bans, please consult the Reservation Rules and Policies under ‘All Reservations’ at http://www.ontarioparks.com/reservations/

  • Question: Can I use Cannabis in provincial parks?
  • Answer:

    Several pieces of legislation apply in Ontario’s provincial parks such as the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, the Liquor Licence Act and the Highway Traffic Act. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 contains rules about tobacco and cannabis and the Cannabis Control Act, 2017 contains rules about cannabis which apply in provincial parks.

    In Ontario and Ontario’s provincial parks, smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping) is not permitted in areas including buildings; children’s playgrounds and 20 metres around the playground; or sporting areas such as volleyball and beach volleyball areas, designated swimming areas, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and 20 metres around the sporting or spectator areas.

    Smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping), is permitted on a registered campsite in a provincial park.

    For more information about Ontario’s rules for recreational cannabis use, please visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.

  • Question: What are the check-in and check-out times at Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: For Car Camping, check-in time is 2 p.m. on the day of arrival. Campers must check-out before 2 p.m. on their day of departure. The latest arrival time is 8 a.m. following the scheduled day of arrival. For Roofed Accommodations, please refer to your confirmation letter for specific check in/out times
  • Question: Can I arrive at the park after hours for car camping?
  • Answer: Yes. If you arrive after the park office is closed, you may proceed directly to your campsite and quietly set up your campsite so as not to disturb other campers. Please check-in at the park office the following morning when it opens. If you plan to arrive after 8:00 a.m. on the second day of your reservation, please notify the park in advance.

  • Question:

    What’s open and what’s closed at Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Here is what is open now:

    • campground campsites
    • backcountry campsites
    • roofed accommodations
    • seasonal campsite program
    • washroom facilities
    • drinking water
    • trailer sanitation stations
    • day use areas
    • beaches
    • trails
    • boat launches
    • paddling routes
    • pet exercise areas
    • visitor centers
    • park stores
    • rentals (please bring your own safety gear such as lifejackets, PFDs, bike helmets, etc.)
    • playgrounds / sports fields

    Here is what is not currently available at Ontario Parks:

    • showers
    • laundry facilities
    • group camping
    • picnic shelter rentals
    • swimming pools
    • the Learn to Camp program
    • the Learn to Fish program
    • festivals and large events
    • PARKsmart PFD loaning program (please bring your own PFD to the park)
    • the OFAH Tackleshare program

    We encourage visitors to click on the “Parks” drop down menu to view the Facilities and Activities icons to see what’s available at the park you wish to visit.
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.

    This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. You may notice that day use parking areas will not be as full, or some campsites will remain empty during your stay.

    Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

  • Question:

    How do I know what facilities or activities are available at the operating provincial park I wish to visit?

  • Answer:
    To find out what is available at the park you wish to visit please click on the “Parks” drop down menu at www.ontarioparks.com to view the Facilities and Activities icons.

  • Question:

    Are masks mandatory? / Do we have to wear a mask when visiting the park?

  • Answer:
    Provincial parks are subject to direction from the province and their local public health unit for the mandatory use of non-medical masks or face coverings while visiting various indoor spaces. Please visit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario webpage or check the local health unit’s website for the park you plan to visit to see if any directive applies; Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website has a complete list of Public Health Units across the province.

    The safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice.

  • Question:

    Will you supply masks?

  • Answer:
    No, Ontario Parks is not able to provide masks or face-coverings to visitors. Some parks may have masks available to purchase in Park Stores.

  • Question:

    Are homemade masks okay, such as cloth masks or bandannas?

  • Answer:
    Visitors are asked to wear a face covering while using various indoor facilities. Recognizing that visitors may not have access to a mask, alternate solutions -- such as scarves, bandannas, etc. -- are acceptable.

  • Question:

    Why won’t showers or laundry facilities be open this season?

  • Answer:
    The health and well-being of visitors and staff will always be our number one priority as we decide how and when to open parks, facilities and services. At this time, Ontario Parks is unable guarantee the required level of cleanliness and disinfection of showers or laundry facilities. Our efforts will be focused on ensuring essential facilities such as washrooms and high traffic public areas are thoroughly cleaned and maintained. For more information on protocols for camping without showers read our blog article, what to do when showers are closed.

  • Question:

    Why isn’t the day use fee reduced if not all facilities and services are open yet?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks’ normal fees will apply for all camping and day-use activities and services provided where normally charged. All fees collected go directly back to supporting the operation and maintenance of the entire park system.

  • Question:

    Do I need a reservation to go camping in Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is strongly recommending that visitors make advanced reservations to limit contact during transactions and campsites may be limited and not guaranteed upon arrival without a reservation.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com, or
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 363 days a year

  • Question:

    How do I check in for my camping reservation?

  • Answer:
    All reservation holders will receive a reminder email seven days in advance of their arrival that will provide direction for the check-in process.

  • Question:

    What do I need to keep with me as proof of registration when I am using the backcountry?

  • Answer:
    Campers who are able to reserve and register online are responsible for having an electronic or printed copy of their permit with them when in the park. A copy of the vehicle permit must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle when parked within a designated areas of an operating provincial park.

  • Question:

    Are there any restrictions for campground or backcountry camping due to Ontario’s current restrictions? What are the rules for camping?

  • Answer:
    No more than six people can occupy a campground camping site, and no more than nine people at a backcountry campsite with the exception of six people in backcountry campsite at Bon Echo, Charleston Lake, Frontenac and Killarney hiking trail.

    All other rules for camping apply. Please visit Reservation Rules for more information.

  • Question:

    Can I make a change to my reservation without incurring a change fee?

  • Answer:
    Yes, Ontario Parks is offering free changes to your 2020 reservations, depending on availability. If another date or location is unavailable, Ontario Parks is offering penalty-free cancellations.

    If you wish to make a change to your reservation online, please log in to your reservation account at reservations.ontarioparks.com.

  • Question:

    Can I make a future reservation for the 2020 camping season?

  • Answer:
    Yes, however, Ontario Parks will continue to monitor reservation bookings and may need to limit the number of reservations available. Please be aware that we will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our buildings and during busy visitation times.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com,
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

  • Question:

    What’s the difference between a non-operating park and an operating park?

  • Answer:
    Non-operating provincial parks offer limited recreational experiences, fewer facilities and generally no dedicated staff or fee collection. Operating parks offer a variety of services and facilities, such as campground camping, roofed accommodations, washrooms, and Discovery programs, and charge fees.

    Please visit the Park Locator page at Park Locator to find a provincial park near you.

  • Question:

    Can we visit with our friends on their campsite?

  • Answer:
    Visiting on campsites is permitted provided the maximum number of persons does not exceed the provincial restriction as established under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

    As a reminder, no more than six people can occupy a campground campsite overnight.

    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

  • Question:

    How you plan to handle physical distancing in the bathrooms?

  • Answer:
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Occupancy restrictions may be posted on comfort stations to limit the number of people permitted to enter the building at one time.

  • Question:

    What precautions will be put in place to keep your public washrooms clean?

  • Answer:
    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    How are you improving cleaning processes for Roofed Accommodations during COVID-19?

  • Answer:
    We are implementing appropriate cleaning procedures in our roofed accommodation units including priority for cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

    To accommodate these changes, check-in/ check-out times may be modified, and some amenities may not be available (e.g., kettles, dishes and linens) at some provincial parks. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Why are some Roofed Accommodations not opening?

  • Answer:
    We will be implementing measures to ensure sufficient time for cleaning procedures during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for roofed accommodations in select provincial parks.

  • Question:

    Are there any changes to the check-in Procedures for Roofed Accommodations?

  • Answer:
    Check-in / check-out times may be modified to accommodate cleaning procedures. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Can I bring my pet with me to stay in roofed accommodation?

  • Answer:
    Yes, pet friendly accommodations will be available this season.

  • Question:

    Can I return my 2020 Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit for a full refund?

  • Answer:
    Yes. We are offering full refunds for a 2020 Summer or 2020/2021 Annual day use vehicle permit up to August 16, 2020.

    You can return your permit in-person at a park office, once open, or by mail. If you are returning your permit by mail, please follow the instructions for submitting a refund request form and mail your seasonal permit and the completed refund request form to:

    Ontario Parks Revenue Administration Office
    Refund Request
    P.O. Box 2178
    Orillia, Ontario
    L2V 6S1

    Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the refund after Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.

    If you have any questions regarding your order or the status of your refund, please reach out to us via our contact page and select Online Store Purchase as your topic.

    Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information and park opening dates.


  • Question:

    Why will it take 4-6 weeks after Ontario Parks resumes full operations to process my refund?

  • Answer:
    Due to the high volume of refunds, please allow longer than normal time to process the refunds. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

  • Question:

    Will Ontario Parks further extend the expiry date of seasonal day use vehicle permits?

  • Answer:
    Yes. For visitors who have purchased and received either a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual Day Use Vehicle Permit, Ontario Parks will extend the expiry date of the permit. 2020/21 Annual Day Use Vehicle Permit will be effective until December 31, 2021 and 2020 Summer Day Use Vehicle Permit will be effective until March 31, 2021.

  • Question:

    Why are you renting canoes but not PFDs?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is unable to meet the recommendations from the Life Jacket Association in relation to cleaning and storing life jackets during COVID-19.

    Visitors are responsible for bringing their own life jackets/PFDs at the current time.

  • Question:

    Will you be disinfecting campsites in between campers?

  • Answer:
    Campsites will not be disinfected between visitors.

    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    Can I only visit local parks, or can I travel to another area to visit a park there?

  • Answer:
    There are currently no plans to restrict access to Ontario Parks. Ontario Parks continues to follow restrictions put in place by the province and public health advice.

  • Question:

    Are Ontario Parks still running Discovery Programs?

  • Answer:
    A reduced number of Ontario Parks will offer some Discovery programming. While traditional programs such as kids programs and guided hikes may not be possible, where feasible, Discovery staff may engage with campers in ways that respect social distancing guidelines.

    At some parks, Discovery staff will continue to develop and make available self-use and virtual interpretive products such as signage, trail guides and online short video.

  • Question:

    How do I follow safe handwashing practices if washrooms are unavailable at non-operating provincial parks and conservation reserves? Should I wear gloves or masks when at a park?

  • Answer:
    Visitors to non-operating provincial parks and conservation reserves are encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

    The following measures are the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19:
    • washing your hands regularly, when available, or hand sanitizer
    • practicing proper cough and sneeze etiquette (e.g., sneeze and cough into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth).
    • maintaining physical distancing – keeping two meters from individuals outside your household.
    • staying home except for essential reasons

    It’s important that you come to the park prepared with hand sanitizer, extra water, soap, and other supplies.


  • Question: Does Ontario Parks offer any discounts on park fees and what identification is required?
  • Answer: Ontario Parks offers discounts on day-use and camping fees to Ontario residents aged 65 and over and Ontario residents who possess a CNIB identity card or Ministry of Transportation accessible parking permit. When making a telephone reservation, please advise the call-centre agents of your eligibility for a discount. You will be required to show proof of your eligibility when you arrive at the park. Reduced campground rates apply to Ontario senior citizens and their spouse and any other persons in the same party who occupy the campsite. For interior camping or group camping facilities, reduced rates only apply to seniors and their spouse.

    Veterans and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who reside in Ontario, are eligible to enjoy free, weekday (Monday to Friday), day use in provincial parks. Upon arrival to a provincial park, please present a valid Canadian Armed Forces identification card (i.e., Canadian Armed Forces Veteran’s Service Card, Canadian Forces Identification Card or Record of Service Card) and proof of Ontario residency with photo identification (i.e., valid Ontario driver’s licence with photo, valid Ontario Health Card with photo, valid Ontario Photo Card, etc.)

  • Question: Are pets allowed in Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to our “Dogs at Ontario Parks” webpage for everything you need to know about bringing your dog to the park.

  • Question: Can I operate my drone (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) in a provincial park?
  • Answer:

    A Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, more commonly referred to as a drone, is an aircraft. Aircraft (including drones) cannot be taken into or operated in a provincial park without authorization from the park superintendent. If the park superintendent authorizes the operation of a drone, the drone pilot must:

    • Follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations including Part IX – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
    • Comply with park regulations under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006 (PPCRA) including but not limited to:
      • Obtaining a valid provincial park permit
      • Obtaining an aircraft landing authorization
      • Ensuring drone operation does not disturb other persons, make excessive noise, chase or harass wildlife, cause damage to Crown property or vegetation
    • Follow all other laws including but not limited to:
     

    Transport Canada is responsible for the regulation of drones and more information is available by following this link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety.html

  • Question: How can I apply for a summer job or career with Ontario Parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to the careers section of our website.

  • Question: Where can I find information on park fees?
  • Answer: Follow this link to view camping fees. http://www.ontarioparks.com/fees/camping/2020. Other categories of fees can be found by using the navigation dropdown menu at the top of each webpage to select the category of fees. On mobile and tablet devices use the menu button on the top right side of each webpage to expose the navigation menu.

  • Question: Can I use a generator in an Ontario Park?
  • Answer: The use of a generator is permitted provided that campers respect the “No Excessive Noise” rule.

  • Question: Where can I find information on group camping?
  • Answer: You can find information on group camping by clicking the "Camping" tab on each park webpage and look for the group camping section. If group camping is not listed the park does not have group camping facilities. Group campsite reservations for most parks can only be made by calling the park directly. As a pilot project, group campsite reservations for 12 southwestern parks can now be made by contacting the Ontario Parks Call Centre. Check this list of participating parks.

  • Question: Where can I get a campground map?
  • Answer: Campground maps are available on-line for all parks that are part of the reservation system. Simply go to the individual parks’ web-pages using the Park Locator and click on the map icon or go to the reservation page and select a park there. For parks that are not part of the reservation system, please contact the park directly to obtain a campground map.

  • Question: How many people are allowed on a car-camping site?
  • Answer: No more than six people can occupy a campground campsite unless these people comprise a single-family unit consisting of parents, and their children.
  • Question: How many people are allowed on an interior (backcountry) site?
  • Answer: Most parks with backcountry or interior campsites allow up to nine persons per site, with the exception of Frontenac, Killarney (hiking trail), Bon Echo and Charleston Lake. Each of these parks only allows six persons per backcountry or interior site.

  • Question: On what dates do parks open and close?
  • Answer: Some parks are open year round. Other parks open and close on different dates throughout the year depending on their location. Follow this link to find out the opening and closing dates for your favourite park.

  • Question: Can I submit photographs that I’ve taken of parks to www.ontarioparks.com?
  • Answer: Currently, we are not accepting photos for the website but we thank you for offering.

  • Question: Do any of your parks offer radio-free campgrounds?
  • Answer: Select campground areas in 22 parks, including Arrowhead, Bon Echo, Killbear, and Presqu'ile and four campground areas in Algonquin offer radio-free camping. Parks that offer radio-free camping are listed in the Parks Guide.

  • Question: Where can I get information about special events or attractions close to the provincial park I'm planning to visit?
  • Answer: You can get additional information about tourism in Ontario by contacting 1-800-ONTARIO or www.ontariotravel.net. A provincial road map is also available from 1-800-ONTARIO.

  • Question: How many vehicles can I have on my site?
  • Answer: The fee for one vehicle is included in your campsite permit - all other vehicles must purchase an "Additional Vehicle Permit" at the time of registration. The number of additional vehicles permitted on a campsite is limited by the park and vehicles may have to be parked in a separate designated "parking lot" located away from your campsite. Consult the ‘site description’ on the Reservations website to find out how many vehicles can be parked on-site.

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Mail

Ontario Parks
300 Water Street
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7